It has been an amazingly intense experience. 10 years is a lot of time, and for those of us who have been here since the very beginning, born close to the end of the 70s, it means that about 1/3 of our life, and therefore almost all our adulthood, was professionally devoted to contribute to the construction and evolution of igalia.
Although many things were discussed along several meetings during the first half of 2001, when we started defining our founding principles, two were clearly identified as the pillars of the project:
- We wanted to develop free software, to participate in the amazing, international network of cooperation where people were then starting to explore new paths towards open innovation. Using and supporting free software, the most common business models back then (and arguably still now) was nice, but we wanted to go further and to humbly devote most of our energy to build new -and to contribute to already existent- software.
- We wanted to bring direct democracy to the working place, embracing a cooperative internal structure, sharing ownership and making all the members of the project participate in the discussions and decisions that define the future of the company.
Looking back, I honestly think that we did a good job respecting those founding principles. Both us (individually and collectively) and our environment have changed a lot over the years, we have gone from a small local team of people to a much bigger and international team composed by colleagues with many nationalities working from many different locations; we have gone from small and local customers to working internationally with most of the relevant actors which are using or contributing to the different open source platforms/projects; we have gone from being relatively inexperienced but passionate and willing to learn to equally passionate but with already some experiences to learn from; and all this time, without exceptions, the essence has remained untouched: the spirit was the same all the time, and we still do free software, and we still believe in people and keep the flat internal structure.
It is quite difficult for me to write this post. Many memories and feelings cross my head, many good moments and also some more complicated ones, mainly in the first period, when a huge percentage of companies disappear and we managed to resist, learn and grow. If I wanted to be fair I would need to thank here a lot of people, a very big list, all those who in one way or another were part of this project, for all the help and support along the years, but they already know who they are and how grateful I am, so I will keep it private, and just say that I am very proud of what we have achieved: 10 years participating in the free (software) world.